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Home | Tag Archives: hacep

Tag Archives: hacep

Early Morning Fire at Downtown’s ‘Blue Flame’ Building Quickly Extinguished

El Paso Fire Department (EPFD) crews rushed to the scene of a reported fire at the iconic ‘Blue Flame’ Building in Downtown El Paso Monday morning.

According to EPFD officials, their crews responded to the corner of Texas and Stanton, where workers called in a fire on one of the upper floors undergoing remodeling.

Due to the fire being reported inside of a high-rise building, the incident was upgraded to a Condition 4.

The fire, accidentally created while duct-work was being performed, was quickly contained.

EPFD officials added that no injuries were reported, no hotspots were found, and there was no damage to the structure.

As for the building itself, Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) and work crews are about halfway done converting the historic office building into 120 affordable apartment, as well as 45,000 square-feet of office and retail space.

A total of 25 units and 75 firefighters responded to the incident.

Photo gallery courtesy EPFD

Local Veteran Goes from Homeless to Homeownership

U.S. veteran Cholla Fox has gone from homelessness to homeownership through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program at the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP).

Fox, 53, moves to a home in Northeast El Paso; her daughter and grandchildren will move in with her.

“I have gone through so much in my life – peaks and valleys – and I have traveled all over this country, I now believe that this home is where I can settle down and raise my family,” Fox said. “I have earned this and I’m proud of it.”

The HUD-VASH program through HACEP is a powerful resource for veterans to get themselves on a track to self-sufficiency. Fox’s journey to homeownership is the result of a partnership between three entities: The Office of U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and HACEP.

For HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon, the success of Fox and others is only the beginning.

“We have utilized the HUD-VASH program to the fullest extent since its 2008 inception to help our U.S. veterans rebuild their lives,” said Cichon. “Ms. Fox and others who have excelled in this program illustrate the power of this program and how it impacts the lives of veterans nationwide.”

Originally from Beaumont, Texas, Fox joined the U.S. Army in 1982 and was active for 25 years, living in El Paso during her first station of duty before leaving the region in 1998.

Even while facing homelessness, Fox never wavered in her determination to get back on her feet. She joined the HUD-VASH program in 2014 and worked to restore her credit and savings. She worked with program coordinators through HACEP’s Family Self-Sufficiency/Homeownership Program to begin the process of purchasing a home.

John Rhodes, a veteran who completed the HUD-VASH program a year ago, hopes that stories like Fox’s and his own will encourage struggling veterans to join the program.

“Any veteran who can take this opportunity and make the best of it should research it,” Rhodes said. “It is work, but the work is worth it when the realtor hands you the keys to your own home.”

Retired Col. Michael Amaral, director of the El Paso Veterans Affairs Health Care System, believes the HUD-VASH program is one of the most effective and supportive ways for veterans to use government resources to get back on their feet.

“It’s a collective effort to help our veterans, especially those in dire need of help,” said Amaral. “But the end result helps support those who have fought for our liberties we take for granted.”

A cavalcade of HACEP maintenance technicians, representatives from the local VA office, Congressman O’Rourke’s office and City Representative Sam Morgan’s office, and Cichon himself helped carry Fox’s belongings into her new home.

“This is part of our mission: Get people through our programs and into a life of independence and self-sufficiency,” said Cichon. “Veterans like Cholla and John are an inspiration to their families and our community.”

Gallery Courtesy HACEP

300 Backpacks Distributed at HACEP’s Annual Back-To-School Fair

On Saturday morning the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP), with assistance from the Hunt Family Foundation’s donation of $10,000 to there were over 300 children from the agency’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Section 8 program who benefitted from the 9th Annual Back-To-School Fair.

“This event gives children in our HCV program a chance to get ahead on the school year with a new backpack and school supplies to start the academic year prepared,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon.  “We are excited to offer this event for the ninth year and are grateful to the Hunt Family Foundation for its generous support.”

Hunt Companies, through their Family Foundation, donated $10,000 to HACEP in order to make this annual event possible. There were over 300 backpacks filled with necessary school supplies – like paper, scissors, notebooks, folders, glue, erasers and more – for a total value of $30 per backpack.

For families with multiple children in school at the same time, the start of the school year can become a financial struggle. According to Uplift Family Services, a California-based community and behavioral health service organization that advocates on behalf of children, children are typically excited for a new school year but encounter mild-to-severe anxiety due to a lack of resources required by school districts.

“Every child should be excited to go back to school and prepared with the necessary school supplies,” said City of El Paso District #2 Representative Alexsandra Annello. “No child should feel embarrassed for not having what they need, nor should the parents struggle to provide their child the opportunities to succeed. This is why events like HACEP’s Back-To-School fair are so incredibly important because it encourages our community to support one another and set our children up for success.”

For the past eight years, HACEP has impacted the lives of over 3,000 children across all of its affordable housing programs and their families by providing the tools necessary to help them be successful in the classroom. One of the cornerstones of HACEP’s mission is to provide families with the tools necessary to lead a life of self-sufficiency, and in many ways this annual event is a major thread through the fabric of this initiative.

“As a parent myself, this event is just as important for the parents as it is for the children, because the parents are the ones who champion the young ones,” said HACEP Board of Commissioners Chairman Francisco Ortega. “These children see the effort that’s put into this event and it’s my hope they place a similar effort in their education.”

To help embody the essence of ‘champion,’ HACEP’s Back-To-School fair also featured El Paso’s Sweetheart and IBF World Featherweight Champion Jennifer Han – the Sun City’s homegrown champion. Jennifer Han shared words of encouragement with the families and children and speak to them about the importance of fighting for their future.

“I’m so honored to be part of this event witnessing the hundreds of young men and young women acknowledging the importance of their education and what it will mean for their future,” shares World Champion Jennifer Han. “As an El Pasoan, I am proud to champion our community and each one of these families and show that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can become the person you want to be.”

In addition to receiving backpacks full of school supplies, children and families were also able to enjoy access to a Health Fair – an added component to HACEP’s annual event – featuring 15 vendors highlighting public services offered to families.

Local community partners included Desert Sun Chiropractor, Allstate Insurance, Kool Smiles and more. Families were able to receive information on services afforded to them, along with health care items and even bicycle helmets for children provided by The Texas Department of State Health Services.

Gallery courtesy HACEP

Video+Gallery: HACEP Opens Up Old El Paso Natural Gas HQ for Tour

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) hosted a walk-through of the historic Blue Flame Building before the reconstruction phase of the building commences in full.

A tour of the ground floor and executive floors took place on Friday afternoon, as representatives from the project’s developer, Franklin Development, and the project’s architect, In*Situ, discussed the development plans for The Blue Flame and highlight the historic elements.

According to HACEP, crews will convert the historic office building into 120 affordable apartment units throughout 12-floors, will include about 45,000 square-feet of office space throughout three-floors in addition to ground-floor commercial and retail space.

The project cost stands at approximately $40 Million.

**Author’s note: In the video, I referenced going with my grandparents to ‘pay a bill’ at the EPNG building – as the recollections of a 5-year-old aren’t exactly detail-oriented (as pointed out by a kind reader over at the Remember In El Paso When Facebook Page), those monthly visits may have been for an entirely different purpose, as bills were not paid at that location. cb**

HACEP Resident Wins National Youth Leadership Award

DENVER – Housing Authority of El Paso (HACEP) resident Aileen Martinez was honored with the All-America City Youth Leadership Award on Sunday night in the Mile-High City.

“I am so honored with this amazing award,” Aileen Martinez said. “To stand with our community leaders and share El Paso’s story on a national stage helps break down negative perceptions of El Paso. We are a city of champions and now the world knows.”

The award was bestowed upon Martinez, 14, for her work ethic, leadership and dedication in leading her middle school to three national Chess championship titles, and her ability to overcome adversity and using it to motivate others.

Martinez, previously a Henderson Middle School student who will now attend Jefferson High School, played a pivotal role in Henderson’s chess team. The middle school’s team has won three United States Chess Federation’s National Junior High Championship awards.

“Sharing the stories of HACEP residents who overcome adversity is key to breaking the stigma public housing residents unfairly face,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “We are proud that Aileen has been honored with this award and her story serves as an inspiration to us all.”

El Paso was also named a 2018 All-America City on Sunday night. El Paso previously won the award in 1969 and 2010. The El Paso delegation’s theme was “City of Champions,” and the delegation was led by IBF World Champion Jennifer Han.

To win, each community must describe successful efforts to address pressing local challenges. HACEP’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative – which will revitalize HACEP’s housing portfolio by 2020 – was one-third of the All-America City presentation, with Martinez’s story playing an integral role in the presentation.

Martinez took part in El Paso’s delegation competing for the 2018 All-America City Award presentation, hosted by the National Civic League, which recognizes ten cities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments.

The All-America City Youth Leadership Award was created in memory of the National Civic League’s (NCL) former President John Parr who valued the power and impact of youth leadership. Youth, ages 14 to 25, are nominated all over the country when cities apply for the All-America City Award. Each city that is named a finalist allow the youth to advance to the next level.

During the NCL conference in Denver, nominees are narrowed down to five in which they go through an interview with a panel of judges.

Housing Authority of El Paso Announces Art Contest

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) officially launches its 8th annual art contest with this year’s theme: The Transformation of El Paso.

HACEP’s annual art contest is open to all resident who reside within the El Paso region, to include the areas of El Paso County. Entry is free and the deadline to enter has been extended till Friday, June 8 to submit their work.

Once complete, the artwork will be displayed in El Paso’s Downtown Public Library. Winners of each category will be announced in mid-June at the HACEP Art Gallery Reception.

The Transformation of El Paso capture’s HACEP’s efforts that is five years underway as well as the great work of other organizations, government entities and private-sector partners to help grow, develop and improve the greater community of El Paso.

As the old adage goes, ‘a picture can say a thousand words,’ HACEP is seeking out artists of any level to participate this year’s art contest to help capture a pivotal moment in El Paso’s history.

“Part of redefining public housing is effectively sharing our transformation,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “The annual art contest gives both our residents and the greater El Paso community an opportunity to be part of this historic transformation.”

The 8th Annual HACEP Art Contest is open to all residents of El Paso County, including students aged 11 years and older. Participants are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to visually capture this year’s theme in any artistic medium of their choice (e.g. painting, photography, video, sculpture, etc.).

Winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of El Pasoan judges from different disciplines in the art world and announced at a special reception.

Award winners will receive a cash prize, a highlight in the local media, featured online and in HACEP’s newsletter that has a distribution of over 40,000. Please visit the HACEP Website for entry requirements, registration and promotional materials.

This year’s art contest theme ties into HACEP’s current efforts as it continues to lead the nation in the first, largest revitalization effort for affordable housing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative. Nearly half of the agency’s housing portfolio has undergone a complete transformation across the city of El Paso.

As HACEP sits as the country’s 14th largest housing authority serving over 40,000 El Pasoans – or nearly 6% of the city’s population – a transformation of El Paso’s affordable housing communities managed by HACEP translates into a transformation of many neighborhoods throughout the Sun City.

HACEP Officially Unveils Rebuilt Sherman Plaza

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, Texas (HACEP) officially unveiled Sherman Plaza, their $24 Million affordable housing community reconstructed as part of the agency’s larger $1.3 Billion RAD initiative.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Friday, May 11, with representatives from Sundt Construction, the official contractor for the redevelopment, along with Food City Supermarkets – long-time community partner with HACEP – in attendance.

The reconstruction of HACEP’s Sherman Plaza culminated into a $24 million investment in one of El Paso’s oldest neighborhoods was recently designated LEED-certified equipped with Energy-Star appliances, energy-efficient qualities, and central heating and cooling systems.

The event also featured Texas State Senator José Rodríguez, Texas State Representative Cesár Blanco, El Paso County Commissioner David Stout and El Paso City Representative Cissy Lizarraga.

HACEP’s Sherman Plaza Ribbon Cutting Ceremony is part of the City of El Paso’s celebration of Economic Development Week 2018

HACEP: El Paso Community Encouraged to Join Annual Art Contest

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) officially launches its 7th annual art contest with this year’s theme, The Transformation of El Paso. HACEP’s annual art contest is open to everyone who resides within the El Paso region, to include the areas of El Paso County.

“Part of redefining public housing is effectively sharing our transformation,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “The annual art contest gives both our residents and the greater El Paso community an opportunity to be part of this historic transformation.”

Entry is completely free, artists will have till Friday, June 1 to submit their work which will be displayed in El Paso’s Downtown Public Library. Winners of each category will be announced in mid-June at the HACEP Art Gallery Reception.

This year’s art contest theme ties into HACEP’s current efforts as it continues to lead the nation in the first, largest revitalization effort for affordable housing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative. Nearly half of the agency’s housing portfolio has undergone a complete transformation across the city of El Paso.

The Transformation of El Paso capture’s HACEP’s efforts that is five years underway as well as the great work of other organizations, government entities and private-sector partners to help grow, develop and improve the greater community of El Paso. As the old adage goes, ‘a picture can say a thousand words,’ HACEP is seeking out artists of any level to participate this year’s art contest to help capture a pivotal moment in El Paso’s history.”

The 7th Annual HACEP Art Contest is open to all residents of El Paso County, including students aged 11 years and older. Participants are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to visually capture this year’s theme in any artistic medium of their choice (e.g. painting, photography, video, sculpture, etc.).

Winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of El Pasoan judges from different disciplines in the art world and announced at a special reception. Award winners will receive a cash prize, a highlight in the local media, featured online and in HACEP’s newsletter that has a distribution of over 40,000.

For more information, entry requirements, registration and promotional materials, visit HACEP’s Website.

Housing Authority Receives National Award for Distinguished Budget

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) received national recognition for its 2017 fiscal year budget. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) officially announced that HACEP received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

“The intricacies of managing any housing authority’s budget is a very arduous and complicate process,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald W. Cichon. “And when you take into consideration the portfolio-wide conversion and revitalization effort we are taking on, this national award exemplifies how hard our financial team is working to ensure our fiscal responsibility to the tax payer is held to highest standard possible.”

This marks the fourth year the agency has received this national honor, which is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental budgeting.

This significant  accomplishment was made possible by the HACEP Financial Management Team, who was also presented with a GFOA Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation.

To receive the award, HACEP had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for an effective budget presentation. The agency rated “proficient,” the highest rating, in all four areas that a budget should function as for any entity: a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device.

There are 14 criteria in each category used to measure the effectiveness and competency of the budget.

“We began competing for this award four years ago with our 2014 budget and so far we are undefeated,” states interim CFO Hanna Sarah. “Every year we become better at what we do – providing better housing, becoming more efficient, and ensuring our financial accountability to the tax payers.”

HACEP’s Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Burt Blacksher presented the national award to interim CFO Hanna Sarah and Senior Finance Manager Galaxie Rodriguez, who helped lead the team on producing the award-winning budget presentation.

Six Families Get A Better Night’s Sleep This Holiday Season

A holiday wish for one family turned into a blessing for five additional families as the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) called on the support of El Paso’s Mattress Firm to bring a better night’s sleep to each household.

On Friday, Mattress Firm donated a total of 11 mattresses to six families across three HACEP communities who fell on exceptionally difficult times this holiday season. Each family, for various reasons, found themselves in need of this basic necessity that if not for the partnership between Mattress Firm and HACEP would have gone unmet or unnoticed.

“Our standard at the Housing Authority is to provide our families with a safe, clean and affordable place to call home in their time of need,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “However, even something as simple and basic like a mattress would be for any other family can be a challenge for one of our families. So we are incredibly thankful to Mattress Firm for this new partnership as they help us provide the very basic necessities for those who need it the most.”

Every year, HACEP is given the opportunity to go the extra mile by assisting families who receive affordable housing with any necessities they may lack through an annual ‘holiday giving’ initiative, “Operation Noel.”

Employees and departments of HACEP get to “adopt-a-family” by purchasing gifts that the family may request through an application. In an effort to provide a mattress to one family, the Housing Choice Voucher Department (or Section 8) called on El Paso/New Mexico’s Mattress Firm to see if they would be able to donate one to a family in need.

The response from Mattress Firm: “How many more can we donate?”

This one simple question turned into an effort of looking through all the families who were selected as beneficiaries of “Operation Noel” to see who else needed mattresses.

The result: 11 mattresses (5 queen, 5 twin and one full) will be donated to a total of six families. In one case, a 15-year old female only had an air-mattress until it popped several weeks ago. In another case, an elderly couple did not have the financial resources to replace their current mattress which was both too small and not conducive to their physical health.

“Save Monday. Sleep Happy. It’s a simple motto we live by at Mattress Firm, but it can mean especially more to those who need it the most,” states El Paso/New Mexico Mattress Firm Vice-President Dan Longoria. “When we received that call from HACEP about the need for one mattress, we immediately knew there were other families who lacked this very basic necessity. We know that six families is just a drop in the bucket but it is definitely a start to a partnership to help many more families in the future.”

The majority of the families reside in northeast El Paso at HACEP’s Eisenhower Community. As part of this effort, District #4 City Representative Sam Morgan will be donating his time to help deliver the mattresses to the families who reside in District #4.

“I was thrilled to learn of Mattress Firm’s initiative when they answered that call,” shares City District #4 Representative Sam Morgan. “That is what the holiday season is all about – answering the call to serve your community when they need it the most.”

Juvenile Justice Center, HACEP Partner to Give Back on National Pride Day

The El Paso County Juvenile Justice Center partners with The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) once again this year to celebration National Pride Day – a day of giving back to the community – by making improvements to the Kennedy Community parking lot, one of HACEP’s largest communities located in the Mission Valley.

“For the last ten years, we have built a strong partnership with the El Paso County Juvenile Justice Center that has led to many opportunities of improving our communities throughout El Paso, involving the Justice Center’s youth in proactive civic engagement, and pumping a sense of pride into our communities that will actively engage our residents,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon.

The Juvenile Justice Center is part of the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department who work with youth (14 to 17 years old) to participate in the Community Service Program as a means to receive physical, emotional and educational needs in safe and structured environments.

The Kennedy Community, located at 400 South Zaragoza in the El Paso’s Mission Valley, is one of HACEP’s largest communities with 364 residential units, a gymnasium, and daycare center, plus a 200-space parking lot that serves the Community Center.

Together, the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) and HACEP’s Resident Council (a community-resident association) brought 20 youth from the JJC and a group of residents from the Kennedy Community to completely restripe the 200-space parking lot for the Kennedy Community Center that translated into a cost savings for the agency of about $3,500.

Savings in maintenance costs for any property in the HACEP portfolio improve the agency’s ability to host special events and educational opportunities to further enrich the lives of residents and their children.

The impact it has on the lives of the volunteers, according to Joel Olivas, Community Service Juvenile Supervising Officer, is priceless in that it gives each of the youth an opportunity to directly serve their community and see the product that they were directly involved with.

“These community service projects are extremely important as they allow our youth to see the positive impact they can have in their very own neighborhood,” states Joel Olivas. “And when our youth play a role in improving their neighborhood, the more likely they are going to continue to take care of it while recognizing the world around them.”

The partnership between the JJC and HACEP has led to the restriping of parking lots at several other HACEP communities throughout El Paso, the neighborhood cleaning initiative in the historic Chamizal Neighborhood near North Tays Community, and the construction of keyhole gardens at the Paisano Green Community, an elderly and disabled living community, in south-central El Paso (keyhole gardens are raised-bed gardens ideal for elderly and disabled).

National Pride Day is a day of giving back to your community in the form of community service that targets a need, and through volunteer service people work together to serve that need.

Mayor Margo, HACEP Reignite the Blue Flame in Downtown El Paso

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) alongside El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and other key players, officially reignited The Blue Flame Building in Downtown El Paso as part of an announcement that HACEP will redevelop the high-rise into mixed-use and mixed-income residential living space for the city’s urban core.

The announcement included a proclamation by Mayor Margo naming October 18, 2017 as “Blue Flame Day” for El Paso as the city continues to witness major strides in downtown revitalization.

“Our Downtown skyline is not only coming back to life, but it also has a story to tell,” shares El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. “The Blue Flame has developed a history integral to who we are as a city, and now with this redevelopment effort by HACEP it will symbolize all that can be accomplished through fruitful partnerships and their impact on the future of our community.”

The announcement of The Blue Flame included a portion of the group who helped make this redevelopment effort a reality, including Texas Representative Lina Ortega (District #77), City Representative Cissy Lizarraga (District #8), HACEP Board Chairman Burt Blacksher, and Paul Foster’s management group – Franklin Mountain Management who will be selling the building to HACEP.

“The Blue Flame represented to all of us a number of possibilities for Downtown El Paso,” shares President and Owner of Franklin Mountain Management, Paul Foster. “However, the complexity of bringing one of these plans to fruition was a challenge until an innovative concept brought by HACEP helped pave the way for yet another leap for downtown revitalization.”

The Blue Flame, originally built in 1954 as the official headquarters to the now-Houston based El Paso Natural Gas Company, covers 0.32 acres of the Downtown El Paso footprint and stands as an 18-story high-rise making it the third tallest building in center city (to include the globe atop the building).

Mostly known for ‘the flame’ globe that would correspond to the next day’s weather, the building was vacated on Easter 1986 when EPNG relocated to Colorado.

The El Paso Independent School District made the building their headquarters a few years after only to vacate it after determining the price to maintain the building was too expensive.

After Wednesday’s announcement, the Blue Flame will be reintroduced to the Sun City’s skyline at dusk each night until the building is set for start of construction in February 2018. Upon completion of the residential high-rise, HACEP will unveil a revived Blue Flame.

“If you have not walked the inside of The Blue Flame, then it is difficult to determine the enormity of this type of redevelopment effort and all that is required to make this happen,” states HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “This is why we are so grateful for our partners who have worked right alongside with us to make this happen for El Paso and the families that will now call The Blue Flame ‘home.’”

The agency will take on The Blue Flame building as an adaptive reuse development initiative that will convert the office building into 150 apartment units – 120 residential units will be affordable while 30 will be market rate (mixed-income). The first floor will be commercial space, while designs will determine the feasibility to create more commercial/office space.

The unit mix, as of today, will be 4 efficiency, 116 one-bedroom and 30 two-bedroom. The breakdown of unit-type between affordable and market-rate has yet to be determined. Updates will be provided as design and plans become available throughout the construction process.

Through an RFP (request for proposal) process, the agency selected Texas-based development firm Franklin Companies (unrelated to Franklin Mountain Management). Franklin offered more than 20 years of experience in affordable housing development, construction and management, along with an in depth understanding of historic preservation – primarily in downtown urban revitalization settings.

Franklin has developed more than 6,000 homes (residential units) across Texas. The principal development team is led by Ryan Wilson and Aubra Franklin, a native El Pasoan.

The project cost stands at approximately $40 Million. In July 2017, HACEP announced that it received a $15 Million tax credit award from Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for this redevelopment initiative.

The agency is currently in pursuit of both federal and state historic tax credits that could result in at least an additional $8 Million that will help fund this development.

The redevelopment of The Blue Flame will officially be part of HACEP’s overall revitalization effort through HUD’s RAD or the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program. RAD, a HUD-driven strategy, in which 100% of the agency’s affordable housing portfolio will undergo revitalization as a means to address a national crisis on housing infrastructure.

HACEP maintains its commitment to completely revitalize over 6,400 residential units throughout El Paso translating into a $1.3 Billion effort at no cost to the local tax payer.

Completion of HACEP’s Blue Flame Building is slated for January 2020.

El Paso’s Mayor Dee Margo Makes Historic Board Appointment for HACEP

City of El Paso Mayor Dee Margo makes a historic board appointment by naming Yadira Beltran, a Section 8 voucher recipient, as the next Resident Commissioner for the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP).

This board appointment will be the first of its kind seen in HACEP’s 79-year history and in the state of Texas as the resident commissioner will represent all residents receiving housing assistance through the agency – or a total of 40,000 El Pasoans.

Since the inception of the agency in 1938, a resident commissioner could only be chosen from HACEP’s section 9 – or public housing – program, even as HACEP incorporated new affordable housing programs into its portfolio.

HACEP took to the state legislature earlier this year to amend state law that would make HACEP the first affordable housing agency in Texas to have a resident commissioner appointed by the City’s Mayor from any housing program.

“As we continue to transform our approach to affordable housing for El Paso, it is imperative that we ensure every resident is well represented throughout this process,” expresses HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “We needed to change state law that would allow our Mayor the ability to choose from any of the 40,000 residents we serve who can best fit this role.”

El Paso’s Mayor Dee Margo is responsible for the appointment of each of the five commissioners that govern HACEP, with each commissioner serving a two-year term for up to four terms (or a maximum of eight years).

“The secret to appointing members to boards like HACEP’s Board of Commissioners is that there is no secret,” shares El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. “It’s about appointing the right person for the right position, and Yadira proved to be the right fit to help move HACEP forward.”

Newly appointed Resident Commissioner Yadira Beltran is a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) participant who turned to HACEP in a time of need as she is actively working on her Bachelor of Science in Nursing while working full-time for Del Sol Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care & Nursery and raising three young children.

From the onset of receiving assistance through HACEP’s HCV program, Beltran elected to participate in the agency’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program that guides residents to a more self-sufficient life, such as financial literacy, education attainment and homeownership.

Throughout her FSS journey, Beltran was able to build her credit, enroll in school and officially close on her own home through HACEP’s Homeownership Program. A native El Pasoan, Beltran is beginning to build a career around her passion for serving the community and looks to this appointment as another opportunity to give back.

“I want HACEP residents to know that I am doing it for them, and am here to give them a voice,” shares HACEP Resident Commissioner Yadira Beltran. “The families this agency serves are all here for different reasons but with the same goal in mind, to build a better, stronger and more self-sufficient life.”

$30 Million Awarded to El Paso to Reconstruct Affordable Rental Housing

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) won two nine-percent housing tax credit awards this afternoon, valued at a total of $30 Million, that will go towards financing the development for two of three potential future sites as part of its ongoing Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) revitalization effort in El Paso.

“As an agency we are here to advocate on behalf of families who need this help the most, so we pursue each funding source as if it is our last opportunity,” expresses HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “This victory we had in Austin today exemplifies our relentless effort to continue building better opportunities for the 40,000 families we serve right now and the thousands more to come.”

HACEP beat approximately 380 other eligible applications filed in the ‘At-Risk Set-Aside’ category.  The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), who administers the state’s housing tax credit program, officially approved HACEP’s applications, an award that accounts for nearly half of the available amount in this year’s round of At-Risk Housing Tax Credits.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon at the TDHCA monthly board meeting in Austin, TX.

This is the fourth year HACEP has won nine-percent tax credit awards to help finance its development initiatives.  Through this statewide financing vehicle, HACEP has brought $126 Million in total investment to El Paso over the last four years spread across eight affordable housing developments.

“This $30 Million award is a victory for the entire city of El Paso as it moves us forward in nurturing and promoting healthy, sustainable communities for our growing region,” shared Mayor Dee Margo after learning about TDHCA’s announcement.

To-date, HACEP has officially completed the redevelopment of 13 communities – or 1,590 residential units – and the complete reconstruction of two multi-family developments (294 units combined) spread across the city of El Paso. HACEP currently has eight affordable housing communities undergoing rehabilitation, two of which are complete reconstruction developments – North Sherman Community in south-central El Paso and the Thomas Westfall Community in east El Paso.

Now, with these tax credit awards, HACEP will be able to pursue two different development initiatives that will inevitably increase the number of affordable housing communities to better serve El Paso’s most vulnerable populations. The sites for these two developments have yet to be determined.

HACEP’s RAD program – an initiative to rehabilitate and in some cases reconstruct 6,102 affordable housing residential units across 42 communities in El Paso – will continue through 2020, and has earned the title of the first, largest overall RAD conversion in the United States.

HACEP Celebrates HUD’S National Father’s Day

In commemoration of Father’s Day, multiple community organizations will partner with the Housing Authority to host a free Health Fair at the HACEP main offices on 5300 East Paisano Drive.

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) is also participating in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiative to bring awareness on the vital role fathers (and parents) serve in a child’s physical and emotional well-being through the theme of “Building Healthy Families.”

“It is important that through these events we connect the fathers in our communities with resources immediately available to them so that they have the opportunity to provide and guide their families to live a healthy and fulfilling life,” expresses HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “HUD’s Father’s Day initiative is on target for improving the lives of children across the nation. As an agency, we are choosing to be a part of this for the betterment of the 40,000 El Pasoans we support.”

According to Fatherhood online, actively connecting public services and organizations with residents who live in the community can dramatically improve their quality of life. Research goes on to say that these connections are most effective when made available through community events.

Only then will families across the country know where and what type of support, healthy programs and resources are immediately dispensable to strengthen and improve their lives.

Watch HUD Secretary Carson’s video message.

WHAT:                 HUD’s National Father’s Day Initiative celebrated by HACEP

WHEN:                 Saturday, June 17 @ 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

WHERE:          HACEP Main Office  5300 E. Paisano Drive

*Parking and entrance along Cortez Drive

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